Even though numbers show that 75% of the catch in 2011 was unsold, the government is apparently using tax-payer-funded subsidies to help keep the whaling fleet afloat. The money from the “profitable fisheries program” is said to be siphoned into the unprofitable and highly controversial industry.
According to investigative journalist Junko Sakuma, the subsidy that is supposed to go to fishermen who are experiencing financial trouble is being used to prop up the whaling fleet that has cost the government $60 million every year. This comes after documents show some of the funds used for the fleet came from money supposed to be set aside for the recovery and rehabilitation of communities affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Documents show that the subsidy money has already been put to use in refitting the Nisshin Maru, the whaling fleet’s mother ship which now has a smoking room and internet connection.
The Japanese whaling fleet is now entering Antarctic waters and that means whale wars are about to start again. For the past few years, militant Sea Shepherd activists have been able to badly affect the fleet’s catch. A report to be released Monday by Patrick Ramage, the whale program director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, will show three important findings: whaling is an economic loser, Japanese people do not eat whale meat anymore, and that whale watching is much more economically beneficial for the industry. Even supporters of the whaling program are not supportive of the government’s move to inject funding into the program through other subsidies. Masayuki Komatsu, a former Japanese delegate to the International Whaling Commission said, “”It’s not sustainable, right. How long can you get such money from the government?”[ via ABC ]